As a coach, I get a lot of questions about boundaries.
Here’s one from a recent client:
“I feel like everyone in my life is taking advantage of me. I guess I have no boundaries. Can you help me with that?”
I start the conversation asking her to share an example.
And the example always goes something like this…
“So-and-so wants me to help her out with such-and-such. She is constantly asking me to do things for her. She has absolutely no respect for my time or my schedule. She always thinks that I can drop everything and be there for her. She has no appreciation for me at all and I am sick of it.”
I am curious about what she does next.
And the answer is always something like this…
“I tell her that I can help her out.”
I ask why.
“Because she asked and I don’t want to disappoint her.”
I told her she didn’t help to create boundaries.
She needed help getting good at no.
We all get this one confused – especially when we are people-pleasers.
We believe some crazy things about boundaries.
1. We think boundaries are these invisible shields of protection that will prevent the requests, the favors and the phone calls for help.
2. We believe boundaries will teach people to stop taking advantage of us and then they will know exactly how to treat us better.
3. We think that boundaries with stop the potential disappointment that others will have in us.
4. And finally, those boundaries set an expectation of how other people should act with us.
Boundaries don’t have these 4 superpowers. They can’t do any of these things.
And here’s why.
People are going to do whatever they want, whenever they want.
They are going to ask for help, favors and make requests. And they get to do that.
And you get to respond to those requests in whatever way you want to.
Just because someone asks you for something, does not mean that you have to say yes or believe that you are being taken advantage of.
Here’s the real superpower that you are looking for – getting good at no.
Getting good at no means getting good at telling the truth.
This matters because every time you say yes when you really mean no – you are choosing to tell yourself and the other person a big, fat lie.
Lying is choosing to take advantage of yourself, to not appreciate yourself, and to disappoint yourself.
Telling the truth is what teaches people how you want to be treated because it shows them how you treat yourself.
Boundaries do play a role in our relationships but rarely do we actually need them. 9 times out of 10, the problems that we are having in our relationships are about the way we treat ourselves. The better we treat ourselves, the better our relationships. Treating ourselves better begins with us telling the truth.
And here’s what getting good at no can do for you.
A no can be delivered with kindness and love. Kindness and love are emotions that you experience and they feel good!
No is a sign of self-respect. Self-respect increases your trust in yourself!
No makes your future yes that much sweeter.
You will be much more excited about your yeses without all the resentment and irritation!
Ready to say no more in your life? Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session and let’s talk about why saying no is a challenge and how you can move past it.